This is the original recording of Gershwin's masterpiece, what may surprise many people is that it is an acoustic recording not electric one. This record was released soon after the piece was first performed and was soon replaced by a much more common electrically recorded record.
March 16, 2013 Subject:
The electric recording was made April 24,1927. Nat Shillkret did conduct the session and some personnel changes had occured by this time. Mr Shillkret would go on to conduct the first recording of "An American in Paris" in 1929 with Gershwin on the glockenspiel. Some that I've spoken to have likened the 1927 session to an "oom-pah" band. The 1924 session is still the best.
February 22, 2013 Subject:
I just purchased an all oridginal in a set of 5 78's of George Gershwin / Paul Whiteman recording of Rhapsody in Blue, recorded at Minlo Park 1924. WOW, the best 3 dollars i ever spent at an estate sale. To sit back and imagine those guys making this recording and Mr. Gershwin at the piano banging out this Rhapsody, it brings chills to me.
May 19, 2011 Subject:
its a great song but, i like the electric version better
June 26, 2007 Subject:
what a difference a couple of years make!
Listening to this version and the subsequent 1927 version is like listening to two completely different songs. While not technically on par with the "electric" version, this is the version that is electric! True, pure 1920's jazz. The sides play well together. It is alive. The later version sounds like it could have been recorded at any time up to the late 1950s its modern, but is just lacking in character - sterile. If I ever see this recording someplace, I'd snap it up in a second! I'll never think the same way about this composition again.
June 11, 2007 Subject:
The real thing at last
I'm so glad this is posted here! I've beens tudying the Rhapsody, and it dawned on me that, given Paul Whiteman's band and Gershwin's concept, it couldn't possibly have originally been the rather stodgy piece of music we're used to hearing. I wanted to go back to something as close to the original as possible but didn't think such an early recording existed. I'm very glad to find this and I'm fascinated by the pure 1920s jazz sensibility here.
Reviewer:Ron David -
March 25, 2006 Subject:
"Shock and Awe"
What a delight! What magic! This original recording is the "shock and awe" version of the Great Master's Rhapsody. It is filled with laughter, humor and emotion. For those of us who think we know the driven genius of George Gershwin, it is as though he walks among us for nine glorious minutes saying, "Wait 'til you hear this."
March 7, 2006 Subject:
This is a wonerful performance. Very clean and not so very different from more recent recordings. The pacing is better than most performances of Rhapsody. I will have to see if this is Berliner or Edison. Thank you for putting this out here. Very nice.
Reviewer:B. Stockwell -
March 6, 2006 Subject:
That's Gershwin at the keyboard, by the way . . .
This, like the other part of this recording, is an edited performance, with cuts made to fit the 15-minute work onto two 78-RPM discs. Total time is under 9 minutes, but the cuts are pretty smart ones. This work was originally written for a large dance band, the way you hear it here. This isn't "Symphonic Jazz." It's authentic 1920's style - completely different from the bloated "violins and cellos" versions that we're used to hearing. You can hear the banjos in this version. Gershwin plays the piano part and the performance is fast fast fast. The opening clarinet glissando wails and breaks off into reedy laughter. This is SO different from the the syrupy swooning you now hear. The sound isn't spectacular - the microphone wasn't invented until the next year, 1925 - but these 78s are still pretty well transfered. The recording of "Rhapsody in Blue" was a hit. In 1927 the same group - again with Gershwin but now with a microphone - made another recording. Paul Whiteman had a quarrel of some sort and walked out of the recording session. They recorded anyway, with another conductor - Nathaniel Shilkret, I think - taking over. Whiteman was happy to promote the recording as his own, nonetheless. The electric version is better recorded but it lacks, well, electricity. Everyone, including Gershwin, just punches it harder in 1924.